On 9 May 2023, the Australian Government handed down its first full Budget since it was elected in 2022. In relation to the immigration, the Government announced the following changes.


Migration Planning Levels 

The 2023-24 migration planning level will be 190,000 places, with 137,100 allocated to the skilled migration stream.


Temporary Graduate Post Study Rights

Temporary Graduate visa holders with specific degrees will be eligible for an extra 2 years of post-study work rights to improve the pipeline of skilled labour in key sectors from 1 July 2023.


International students working hour cap

The working hour cap for international student visa holders will be reinstated from 1 July 2023, following its removal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be increased by 8 hours from pre-pandemic levels to 48 hours per fortnight.

International students working in the aged care sector will be exempt from the capped fortnightly work hour limit until 31 December 2023.


Visa Fees and Charges are due to increase

The Government will increase Visa Application Charges (VACs) from 1 July 2023. An increase of 15% will affect the following visa classes:  visitor, working holiday, work and holiday, training, temporary activity and temporary work (short stay specialist) visas.  A 40% increase is expected for Business innovation and investment visas; and 6% increase for other visas.  The categories exempted from increase are: Pacific Engagement Visa and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas.  The Passenger Movement Charge paid by carriers will increase from $60 to $70.


Visa processing and compliance monitoring

The Government will provide additional funding to increase visa processing capacity to support 500 visa processing officers, in an effort to manage the number of visa applications on hand.


Adult Migrant English Program

An improved delivery model for the AMEP will be implemented within the existing funding. Changes will provide improved English language, employment, and settlement outcomes for migrants by providing flexible tuition options, introducing a national curriculum, supporting professional development for teachers, and enhancing client support and performance management.


Skills Assessment – Improved Skills Recognition

The Government is re-scoping two Skills Assessment Pilots to provide onshore migrants with fast-tracked skills assessments, free employability assessments, and access to further training to improve their employment prospects.

In addition, the Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will ensure students from India and Australia will have greater certainty that the qualifications they attain will be recognised by both countries.


Increase in TSMIT

From 1 July 2023, the Government will increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from the current rate of $53,900 to $70,000.


Major visa changes arising from the Jobs and Skills Summit

Expanded pathways to permanent residence

The Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa will be made available by the end of 2023. All Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa holders will be eligible for ENS visas sponsored by their employers.

Applicants must continue working in the occupation nominated for their TSS visa(s).

Occupations will not be limited to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). In addition, sponsored visa holders will be eligible for the TRT after two years (down from three years) of sponsorship on a TSS by an employer.

The limit on Short Term TSS visa applications that can be made onshore has also been removed as an interim measure.

This newsletter only provides general information related to current migration matters. The information contained in this communication does not constitute specific migration advice, and should not be construed or relied on as such. Professional advice should be sought for the specifics of your situation prior to any action being taken. BD Welsh and Co disclaims any liability (including, without limitation, for any direct or indirect or consequential costs, loss or damage or loss of profits) arising from anything done or omitted to be done by any party in reliance, whether wholly or partially, on any of the information contained in this newsletter. Any party that relies on the information does so at its own risk. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.